Ridiculously Expensive Foods You Shouldn't Even Bother Trying

What is the world's obsession with weird food, expensive eats, and combinations of the two? With all the delicious and penny-saving food available, why would people seek out the super expensive, the potentially dangerous, or the truly bizarre? Maybe it's a sense of adventure. Maybe it's a question of more money than sense — maybe they're just trying to show off, or maybe they have so much money, they can't think of a better way to spend it (we can help with that). Whatever the reason, some foods are very expensive and probably not worth the money, either because they're costly for cost's sake or because they're truly bizarre and just kinda gross.

FleurBurger 5000

They don't call it Sin City for nothing. You can gamble, make friends with workers in the (ahem) oldest profession, drink a whole bunch, and spend a load of cash on food. While some casinos have free lobster tails and drinks for those hitting the high-dollar tables, there are top-tier restaurants spread all through Vegas. Take, for example, Fleur, tucked inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. Chef Hubert Keller, self-proclaimed burger fanatic, created what he calls "absolutely the ultimate experience when it comes to a burger" in the FleurBurger 5000.

Yes, that "5000" is the price. The burger itself is made from Kobe beef and topped with black truffles and foie gras. The sauce is made with more truffles. Is that all? $5,000 for that? Actually, no. The burger is paired with fries, of course, and a bottle of 1995 Chateau Petrus (valued around $5,300 itself), two Ichendorf Brunello glasses you get to keep, and the knowledge that you shelled out $5,000 for a burger and a bottle of wine. Unless you have $5,000 burning a hole in your pocket and a great love for foie gras and way too much black truffle, stick to the free lobster tails at Bally's.

Kopi luwak

Let's just cut to the chase here. Kopi luwak is made of palm civet poop. It's hard to decide which part of that statement to dissect first. What are palm civets? They're mammals about the size of house cats but with long tails needed for balance high in trees. They're pretty cute. They can be found all over Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and India. In Indonesia they're called luwaks. See? It's starting to come together. It turns out that these little omnivorous creatures eat a lot of coffee berries and beans. Their little tummies can't quite digest the beans, so they end up in their feces after being fermented by stomach acids. A long time ago, people had the bright idea of collecting the palm civet's partially digested coffee beans and making coffee. It tasted good.

Fast-forward to the present, and kopi luwak is popular. It can run as high as $90 a cup at a place like Funnel Mill in California, which means some people look for shortcuts rather than hunt around in the wild looking for civet poop. As a result, wild civets are sometimes held in subpar living conditions in cages in places like Bali, according to National Geographic. So if you were excited about drinking expensive poop coffee when people were innocently collecting it from the wild, that's one thing. But now that people are farming civet poop, it's not looking so good for the civets. Make sure, if you choose to try this, that you choose responsibly made kopi luwak.

Dougie Dog's Dragon Dog

In 2012, DougieDog Hot Dogs issued a press release announcing its brand new Dragon Dog, a $100 hot dog. Dougie himself is a really personable guy, so it's a little painful to put this dog on the list. But the hot dog just doesn't sound that great. What's in a $100 hot dog? First, a foot-long bratwurst is infused with $2,000-per-bottle Louis XIII cognac. Then it's topped with Kobe beef (cheesesteak-style, from the look of it), olive oil, and truffle oil. Add some lobster and Dougie's special picante, slap it on a big ol' sourdough bun, and you've got the Dragon Dog.

The Vancouver-based diner truck eatery gets great reviews, so if you aren't digging a cognac-and-lobster dog, you can try one of the classic dogs for a much lower price. And since it's Canada, you can grab some poutine and a DougieDog root beer and still have enough money left over to see the sights.

Bird's nest soup

Although bird's nest soup is notorious as a delicacy, and a pricey one at that, the nests that make it special reportedly have no particular taste. They're just for texture. When you think about what you're eating and how much it costs, is texture really worth it? To answer that, let's start with what you're really eating. The bird's nest used in the soup is produced by a cave swiftlet. Swiftlets use moss, seaweed, feathers, and more to create the nest, all bound by saliva that contains mucilage, a bonding protein that hardens when dry. People harvest these nests and can sell a pound of dried bird spit for up to $4,500 in Hong Kong.

Most people say bird's nest soup tastes like slimy chicken soup. You could try to make it yourself if you can track down the pricey nests. Or you could buy a bowl at a Chinatown restaurant in Los Angeles for $80. Seems pretty pricey for bland bird spit.

The $1,000 pie at Nino's Bellissima Pizza

Conceived in 2007 by Nino Selimaj, the $1,000 pizza features a thin crust, lobster, multiple varieties of caviar, salmon, wasabi, and creme fraiche. And people actually buy it! According to a 2010 CNN spot, the recession was a hard hit on Nino's prime pizza and the business as a whole. Although he was selling up to 10 of the expensive pies each week, he only sold one or two a month after the market tanked. It's unclear whether he kept making it during the worst of the recession, but he was definitely selling it again in 2012. Nino says it's "worth every penny."

That may be true, if you want a fishy pizza loaded with luxurious caviar. Grub Street tried it and decided it was "undoubtedly tasty" but ultimately tasted "something like a bagel with lox and cream cheese." For a cool grand? No thanks.

Canard au Rouennaise

Admittedly, this classic French dish is rumored to be quite tasty, but you have to have an iron stomach to sit through the preparation process and then you have to forget about everything you just saw. Invented in the 1800s, the "pressed duck" consists of a duck cooked rare and then put through a horror movie torture scene. The breast and legs are removed and the breast is sliced and placed over more heat, in cognac. While it's cooking, the duck carcass is freed of its skin and then put into a press that squeezes the very dickens out of it. Blood, liquefied guts, and juices are coaxed out of the press with the help of some consomme and champagne, and the mixture is salted and peppered. Then the blood sauce is reduced a bit and served over the cooked duck meat.

The sauce, according to the chef at Antoine's in New Orleans, is made of coagulated blood. Despite that, many people are out to try this dish, which costs between $75 and $120 per person, and that doesn't even include the wine. If you're not scared of a gory preparation process and you don't mind a bloody, metallic-tasting sauce, go for it. I'll pass.

'Zillion Dollar' lobster frittata

The "Zillion Dollar" lobster frittata from Norma's at the Parker Meridien in Manhattan doesn't really cost a zillion dollars. It does, however, cost $2,000 if you supersize it. (The price has doubled in recent years.) The dish comes with 10 ounces of sevruga caviar atop a pile of Maine lobster. That's in addition to the frittata base of potatoes, six eggs, chives, and cream. If you're not feeling so wealthy, you can opt for a $200 scaled-down version that comes with only 1 ounce of caviar.

She also says that it started out as something funny, because luxury food wasn't exactly the trend in 2004. Norma's menu says "Norma Dares You to Expense This." This dish is the Guinness World Record holder for the most expensive commercially available omelette, and that was when it was only $1,000 in 2004. Is it worth trying? Ten ounces of caviar is a lot of fish eggs. Now, the "regular" at only 1 ounce? Maybe.

Casu marzu

Casu marzu, made from sheep's milk, is also called Italian maggot cheese. Yes, you read that right. It's cheese with maggots in it. Surprisingly, it's a rare delicacy and is very time-consuming to make. The sheep are milked, and pecorino cheese is created from it. It's then cured for three weeks and the top is cut off, exposing the cheese to flies. After three months in a dark, cool place, plenty of fly larvae ends up in the casu marzu. The larvae eat the cheese and then digest it back out, and people it it. With the maggots still in it. It ends up tasting like ripe gorgonzola. It's pretty dangerous to eat, since you have to eat the maggots while they're still alive and healthy – dead maggots are dangerous to eat. And, you have to chew them up completely, otherwise they can eat holes in your guts.

The price of casu marzu is hard to pin down. Some estimates put it at $100 per pound, but it's actually illegal in Italy, where it's made. You have to know someone who knows someone if you want to actually get your hands on some. If we do take the $100 per pound price tag, that's way cheaper than the other dishes you've seen here. And no one eats a whole pound of cheese in one serving. But hey. This cheese is full of fly larvae that can jump up to 6 inches and lay eggs in your eyes. Price isn't always measured in dollars and cents.

The Barclay Prime cheesesteak

Cheesesteaks are, obviously, a Philadelphia tradition. So, Barclay Prime in Philly offers one with truffled "Cheese Whiz," which is basically a mornay sauce with truffles and cheese. Think about that. Then add wagyu ribeye, fois gras and more truffles and pile it all on a sesame roll. It comes with a half bottle of champagne, but at $120 for the whole dish, unless you really love the taste of anything that's been truffled, there might be other options. Even people who have liked it have described it as "juicy, greasy and oily."

If you're in Phillly, maybe you should just head over to Geno's or to Pat's to get a genuine cheesesteak that won't kill your wallet. Who needs truffles?

The Juuni Ban from Tokyo Dog

This $169 hot dog is described as a "12-inch smoked cheese bratwurst, butter teriyaki grilled onions, Maitake mushrooms, Wagyu beef, foie gras, shaved black truffles, caviar and Japanese mayo on a brioche bun." Just make sure you give two weeks notice if you plan on ordering it, as those ingredients are hard to get. And, if you do decide to have one, all proceeds go to the American Red Cross, which is cool. But is it good? Two Buzzfeeders drove from LA to Seattle to sample it, and it's huge, for sure. And they called it a "flavor explosion." But does that mean it's worth $169? While those guys say it is, they didn't choose it as their favorite of all the hot dogs they sampled that day.